New tool to help fleets fight back against nuclear verdicts

A new data-based tool is being launched to help fleets fight back against sophisticated plaintiff attorneys and the nuclear verdicts they aggressively pursue.

Steve Bryan, who founded Vigillo then sold it to SafetySamba, is one of four founders of Bluewire, an artificial intelligence-driven software-as-a-service product for fleets. It looks to analyze fleets’ online reputations before they’re involved in a collision and provide guidance on how to improve it so that when a disaster occurs, they’re less vulnerable to fast-acting plaintiff attorneys who prey on truckers.

“We are an industry of soft targets,” he said of trucking. “We’ve left ourselves exposed to the attacking plaintiffs who have discovered clever ways to come in and have come at this industry of soft targets who are not well prepared to defend themselves against these attacks.”

(Source: Bluewire screen grab)

Bluewire has written software that examines a carrier’s online reputation, everything from language used in recruiting ads to the types of safety technologies they deploy. Even commonly used, seemingly harmless recruitment language can be pounced on by plaintiff attorneys, Bryan said.

For example, job postings that focus on home time or maximum mileage-based pay that’s attainable can show a lawyer, and a jury, that safety isn’t the fleet’s primary focus during recruitment.

“There is data that exists that we can access, analyze and use to measure very specifically the reputation of each individual motor carrier,” Bryan said.

It plans to do just that, beginning in June, to create benchmarking data. Fleets will be given a score from 0-100, with a higher number representing greater exposure to risk. Subscribing fleets can not only receive a score, but also guidance on how to address the “attack vectors” attorneys will look to exploit post-crash, Bryan explained.

The service will also provide subject matter experts – an “Uber for experts” – who can help a fleet address areas of concern. The goal is to enable fleets to get ahead of false narratives and paint a more accurate picture of how their business is managed, taking away the ammunition most likely to be used by plaintiff attorneys.

Bluewire includes a “recommendation engine” [think Netflix movie recommendations based on viewing history] for each fleet that will highlight areas where focus should be placed. Bryan compared the experience to hiring White Hat hackers to test a company’s IT systems and detect vulnerabilities before the bad guys do.

The high-level assessment will be free for all carriers, while customized assessments will be subscription based. An insurance product will follow to help insurance brokers and captives better understand a carrier’s risk profile and reputation.

The program will be available beginning in June, to carriers in the U.S. and Canada. About half a dozen Canadian fleets were involved in the company’s consultation process, Bryan said, adding “they gave us great feedback.”

Trucknews.com blogger Doug Marcello is one of the four founders. He brings to the table extensive legal experience having worked as a defense attorney for 40 years, the latest 16 exclusively defending trucking companies. He said nuclear verdicts are driven by “juror anger and reputational vulnerabilities.”

That’s why plaintiff attorneys seek out flaws in a carrier’s processes and executions.

“We look to repair that before the accident happens, to develop the story the company wants to present at the time of a trial,” he explained.

“If we’re successful, they will slither away and find another industry to attack,” Bryan added of plaintiff attorneys who target truckers.

The company’s website went live today at www.Bluewire.ai.

James Menzies

James Menzies is editor of Today's Trucking. He has been covering the Canadian trucking industry for more than 18 years and holds a CDL. Reach him at james@newcom.ca or follow him on Twitter at @JamesMenzies.

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